Baskonia miracle in Saint Petersburg

The Baskonia has those things. When it was worst in St. Petersburg in front of the Zenith, with 18 points behind on the scoreboard, the Vitoria team had a fit of pride and came back. There were 4m 42s left for the end of the game when a triple by Rivers (72-58) pointed as the sentence of the clash and sent the Basque team to the purgatory of the Euroleague. The disastrous second quarter of Ivanovic’s men seemed decisive and the score was a reflection of what happened until then. Everything that could go wrong did. Until that moment.

But, suddenly, the spark of genius appeared that the Baskonia players had lacked, who did not hit either the rebound or the shot, except in the first ten minutes. A triple by Giedraitis (72-66), narrowed the differences with only two minutes remaining. The Vitorian team squeezed in defense, Zenit broke down, in which only Pangos looked at the basket, although with a loose wrist, and in a flash, Baskonia came back.

First it was a basket falling from Henry, who until then had not appeared on the court, who enjoyed an additional shot; later a robbery in defense, the Polonara fight in a jump between two, which ended with an implausible launch from the Italian, who also had a free kick, and that served to tie the game. 1.03m left.

Zenit was no longer in the game. As if the door of the pavilion had been slammed open and the cold of the Russian night froze the hearts of the men of Xavi Pascual’s team. The stands, with more than 2,000 spectators, were as silent as in a game behind closed doors. He stole again Baskonia, and Vildoza, with a triple from the corner, put his team ahead (72-75), for the first time since the beginning of the second quarter.

Decomposed the Russians, they did not hit with anything. They failed again in attack and the Vitoria team scored two free throws with eleven seconds to go, which served as a safety distance. A desperate triple by Rivers with five seconds remaining, after a block from Polonara, did not intimidate the Basques, who got a last, and already definitive basket, which gave them victory and certified the miracle of Saint Petersburg that no one could have predicted five minutes before.

It was the triumph of faith when nobody had it, after many minutes of crossing the desert, of hitting triples without measure; of failing to rebound and not knowing how to score the easiest baskets. The Baskonia’s light bulb went on at the end, and it was a surprise, because it looked burned out. The result (16-34) in the last quarter, says almost everything, but not everything, because in three minutes, the comeback, with a 3-21 partial, was spectacular. The Baskonia is still alive in Europe, clings to life like a cat to the curtains.

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